How Pastors Can Find Peace in the Midst of Chaos - Leaders.Church

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How Pastors Can Find Peace in the Midst of Chaos

A lot of people would agree our current world is a little chaotic.  Even without COVID-19, our world was full of chaos.  From war to job loss, from sickness to death, there is chaos all around us.  We have all found ourselves lacking, looking, or feeling peace at different times. Peace comes into chaos like cool water in the middle of the desert, but how do we find peace in the midst of chaos? How do we practically grab ahold of peace?  

In this post we’ll look at the following steps to find peace:

Purpose
Elevate
Assess
Control
Eliminate

I think there are a couple steps to finding peace in the midst of chaos. 

Purpose

Whiplash. “Why the heck is he talking about purpose? I thought this was about peace!?” It is.  

You will always have a problem with peace, if your problems are bigger than your purpose. 

Your connection to your purpose—your God-ordained and destined purpose—is paramount to finding peace.  

You would get nowhere if you were the captain of a ship without a rudder. The waves and wind would end up tearing your ship apart. Your rudder determines where you go. It determines your destination. It helps you navigate through big waves and strong winds. Without a rudder, you would be lost at sea. 

Purpose is your rudder. 

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Who you are called to be and destined to become is engrained in your very DNA. It is as essential to you as oxygen. Without it, you will be lost. You have to connect with your purpose, understand your purpose, and walk in it to find peace. 

Remember, you will always have a problem with peace, if your problems are bigger than your purpose.  

If you feel like you are running around, constantly knocked over by the chaos of life, then you might just need to adjust your rudder and align with your purpose. 

For me, my purpose is helping people connect with their God-given purpose and dream again. It influences every action I take and thought I have. If I am doing something that does not align with my purpose, I don’t do it! 

Helping people find peace in the midst of chaos brings me peace in the midst of chaos. Why? Because I am connecting with my purpose. I am moving the needle forward and making an impact. My problems do not overshadow my purpose. In fact, it puts my problems in perspective. 

Just because your church environment has shifted does not mean your purpose has shifted. Your purpose remains the same even in the midst of chaos. So, how you engage with it may look differently.  

“That’s great Grant…but I don’t know what my purpose is.” Perfect. That’s the first step in finding peace in the midst of chaos.  

Action Step:

Take 30 minutes alone (no social media, text messages, kids, or your spouse) and ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What moves my heart with compassion? 
  • What makes me mad in society? 
  • What gives me joy? (Go a little deeper here. For example: Connecting people with their purpose, helping people feel confident in who they are, serving those who cannot help themselves, etc.) 
  • Write 3 ways you can put those things into practice this week. 

Elevate

It is impossible to see where you are going if you stay at only ground level.  

It can feel like chaos and anxiety will never end if you feel like the road you are on will never end. It is easy to get lost in the middle of our pain, uncertainty, and anxiety if we can only see what is right in front of us. 

When we only stare at what is right in front of us, we lose perspective of where we have been, where we are going, and where we are now.  

It is easy to be overwhelmed when we do not see the big picture. 

If you were wandering through the woods trying to find your way back to the road, it would be easy to give up if you stayed at only ground level. But if you climbed up a tree to see beyond your current environment, you can know where to go.  

Your vision is directly connected to your perspective. 

You will lose faith and hope in where you are going if you allow yourself to see only what is right in front of you. 

For example…

If you have caught yourself thinking these things, you might need to elevate:

  • We are never going to make it through this. 
  • We will never recover financially from this. 
  • I cannot keep living life like this. 
  • Our church will never be the same. 

If you keep thinking those thoughts, they will probably come true, and it will certainly make it difficult to find peace. You have to take control of your thoughts and bring them into perspective.

  • We are never going to make it through this – We will make it through this, even if things look a little different on the other side.  
  • We will never recover financially from this – We will recover and thrive financially. 
  • I cannot keep living life like this – I am stronger than I think I am and have been through worse. 
  • Our church will never be the same – We have the opportunity to grow, thrive, and innovate.  

Where you lead yourself is where you are going to end up. So, be intentional.

If you stay in the middle of the fray and don’t elevate to get the big picture, you will find yourself lost in the woods of chaos.   

Action Step:

Take 30 minutes alone (no social media, text messages, kids, or your spouse) and ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What things am I telling myself? 
  • Am I looking at the tree in front of me or climbing the tree to gain perspective? 
  • What am I telling other people? 
  • What am I telling my staff? 
  • Think of 3 things you can change your perspective on today. Look back at the examples I gave. 

Assess

We cannot live the same way we have always lived when everything changes.  

If I am driving down a road and a get a flat tire, I cannot keep on driving. I have to stop, pull over, and change the flat tire out with the spare. If I don’t change it out, then I will end up destroying the rim and causing more problems for myself.  

When things change, we have to be honest with ourselves on what we must change.  

Then, we must change.  

There are things you are doing right now that are not helping you find peace, but rather digging you deeper into the chaos.  

We have to make practical changes to live and thrive in the middle of uncertainty and change.  

However, that is not necessarily what I want to focus on right now. 

I want to focus on questions.  

The quality of the questions you ask determine the competencies you attain.  

Statements show problems; questions show growth. 

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I have never met someone who has found peace hiding in the darkness. I have met people who have found peace by shining a big ole light into the darkness, asking the deepest questions of their heart.  

In the midst of chaos, you have to release the questions pent up inside of you or you will succumb to the weight and crumble.  

Look at King David from the Bible.  He was called a “man after God’s own heart.” Yet, this was a man, who we read was questioning of God throughout the Psalms. We read of King David being angry, sad, broken, and in pain. We read of him asking why God has abandoned him.  We read his genuine questions.  

God is not scared of your questions, so ask them!

You have to get out of the darkness and begin to ask the questions that plague your heart. As you ask these questions, you begin to release all of the hurt, pain, uncertainty, and emotion that has built up inside of you. 

There is peace in the release.   

Action Step:

Take 30 minutes alone (no social media, text messages, kids, or your spouse) and ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What questions do I have? 
  • What emotions am I feeling? 
  • Take some time to begin writing down the questions you have for God. Don’t hold back. Release.  

Control

You cannot control a ship that you are not the captain of, so stop attempting to.

I love cruises. Particularly, Disney cruises. I love them. I get to rest, reflect on the year, and enjoy time with my family on a little mini island floating through the ocean. It is one of my favorite things to do. However, if I spent all of my time worried about the course of the ship, the ship’s speed, or the potential for a hurricane, then it would no longer be enjoyable. In fact, it would be a nightmare. Why? Because I cannot do a single thing about any of it.  I cannot burst onto the bridge and declare myself the captain and take over. It just isn’t possible. I do not control the ship.  

You do not control the world. You do not control what happens to you. You do not control what is going on. However, you can control your response. You have a ship that you are the captain of, therefore you have to captain your own mind and heart and set a course through the storm. 

So, if you try to control what is out of your control, you will in turn lose control of what is in your control.  

It is an interesting concept.  We all have a capacity. We all have a limit to what we can control. It is easy to handicap ourselves when we do not focus on the things we can control. It sends us down a path we do not want to go down.  

Maybe life has knocked you onto a different path, but that’s ok. You can change that path. 

You can control what you can control.  

So, release what you can’t control, and you will find peace. 

Action Step:

Take 30 minutes alone (no social media, text messages, kids, or your spouse) and ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What am I trying to control right now that I cannot control? 
  • What can I control? 
  • Why are you trying to control the things you can’t control? 
  • What do you need to release?  

Eliminate

This is a big one.  

I love double cheeseburgers. Why? Because they are simply delicious. The problem is that they are also REALLY bad for me. I must confess…there was a time I ate a couple cheeseburgers a week and my body reflected that.  

What you input you will output.  

You cannot have a different outcome than what your actions dictate.  

I cannot eat 3 double cheeseburgers a week and think I am going to look like Daniel Craig. I am going to look like I eat 3 double cheeseburgers a week.  

So, if you talk to people who are negative or watch the news, then you will become negative.  

If your best friend is Chicken Little, it is time to find a new best friend.  

I love reading the newspaper. It is a part of my morning ritual. However, I have had to almost completely eliminate this from my morning ritual. As soon I begin to read the death toll of COVID-19, opinions that the worst is yet to come, opinions that the worst is behind us, and random conspiracy theories, I cannot help but feel anxiety well up in my chest. 

There are certain people that I have had to stop talking to because they are a negative input in my life.  

If you want to find peace in the middle of chaos, you have to control what you are letting into your mind, heart, and soul. If it is negative, filled with fear, or anxiety-inducing, then it is no wonder you do not have peace.  

Eliminate the things that are negative with ferocity. 

Action Step:

Take 30 minutes alone (no social media, text messages, kids, or your spouse) and ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What negative inputs do I have? 
  • What do I need to eliminate from my life right now? 
  • Write down 3 steps you can take this week to eliminate the negative inputs in your life.  

It’s time to find peace!

 


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